Well, another New Eden Open is in the books. As usual when I write about tournaments, there will be one post about the day and the weekend, followed by a second post going over What It All Means(tm).
The way the schedule was laid out, today could have been four matches and it could have been seven. Like -- I think -- many of you, I personally prefer close matches to blow-outs, matches with a lot of tactical maneuvering to those that are straight-in brawls or matches where one team isolates their opponents one by one and wipes them out. By that scale, today's four matches were definitely not my favorite of NEO2: all four of them were blow-outs and all four of them featured isolate-and-destroy tactics. So... yeah. Today's fights were not fun to watch, unfortunately.
First match was THINGY versus WeHURT. The latter team brought their Vargur triple Caracal comp where THINGY brought a pretty standard-for-NEO double command ship recon logi comp, in this case two Eoses, a Curse, and an Oneiros, supplemented by three bombers. So it was pretty clear that THINGY was ready and willing to wipe out the WeHURT marauder and after a little bit of preliminary dancing, that's exactly what happened. Fintarue on the WeHURT team did do some nice flying in a Sentinel, dipping in and out of the fight and getting some clutch tackles. But the rest of the team failed to capitalize and definitely did not show the fine piloting that got them this far. On the THINGY side, dreynar swyglou did some really terrific flying in his Oneiros.
All in all, marauders have not been all that successful in the second NEO and for WeHURT to bring one on the last day was a mistake. In addition, during the match, CCP Fozzie commented that one of the reasons bombers were set so low in points was directly to counter marauder-based teams. They sure did this time!
As with yesterday, the second match was even more one-sided and less exciting than the first. THINGY, seeing no real reason to change things up, brought another double Eos Oneiros comp, this time supplemented by three Vexors instead of a recon. WeHURT came in with double Geddon, double Vexor and were just dominated. They only brought one tackle ship, were unable to pin the THINGY Vexors and just got roasted over a slow fire by the THINGY drone damage. THINGY isolated and murdered them one by one. About 3000 people watched the first two matches, then things went into a long break before the finals.
THINGY advanced into two matches against the Warlords of the Deep team and proved themselves a pale imitation of their Hydra Reloaded practice partners. THINGY flipped back to the same double Eos Curse triple Purifier comp with which they beat WeHURT. Warlords meanwhile, brought double Domi, Eos, plus two Celestis cruisers and minimal frigate support. On paper, things should have been strongly tilted in THINGY's favor. But the THINGY bomber pilots flew remarkably poorly. The double Celestis caused them to come in close where they were sniped off the field by Domi drones supported by a Warlords Vigil. After that, it was just clean-up. THINGY managed to kill the Vigil. Even before this match started, it was looking bad for THINGY who banned the Maulus and Keres and in so doing just showed they were scared of damp warfare.
EDIT (17/Mar/2014): I originally reported it was sentries that took out the THINGY bombers. It was light drones. I regret the error. Still poor flying, though.
By this time more than 6000 people were watching and it's a shame that THINGY didn't put on a better show. They brought almost the exact same comp(!) to the second match. Only this time, they traded a Curse for an Ashimmu. In so doing they proved that while they may be Hydra practice partners, they clearly didn't at all understand what Hydra was trying to teach them. The Warlords team, meanwhile, brought a pretty dull double Sleip triple Sabre double Keres comp, a slight modification on a comp that they used to absolutely crush WeHURT yesterday. THINGY fared even worse than WeHURT did, getting absolutely rolled.
So, congratulations to the Warlords of the Deep team! Hopefully next time someone will put up a little bit of competition. Congrats also to THINGY and WeHURT, who mostly were successful in outlasting other teams and showing better teamwork and discipline.
There were minor technical glitches today. CCP Bro showed audio interviews with four different teams and the first time one of these was played, there was no audible sound. They pulled back to the studio, tried it again... didn't work again. Tried in a third time, and it finally worked. ;-) Kind of embarrassing. Still, I have to say the interviews were the most interesting thing about the day. They were also crossed here and there with amusing anecdotes and quotes. WeHURT is a team made up partially of EVE streamers and their logo, for instance, includes the catch-phrase "crossing the streams" which I thought was pretty funny.
Funniest thing said during the interviews, though, was from Duncan Tanner of the Warlords of the Deep team. Asked about his team's dominating tournament performance, he tried to be humble saying "People give us too much credit." Uh huh. Yeah. ;-) And then later in the interview when asked to give advice to potential tournament pilots, he said "Don't take it too seriously. It's only a game." LOL. Um, thanks...
As promised, there was a live audience and as expected there was a very minor example of inappropriate behavior from the audience, an amusing but slightly NSFW sign proclaiming "Dick butt!" for no apparent reason. CCP Guard and CCP Mimic were on hand to give the guys at the desk a break and were apparently intending to interview a few CCP devs throughout the day. However, the shortness of the day meant they only had time to talk to one dev, CCP karkur (who did a fine job as always). There were also tweets of the back-room for the tournament, which I always find interesting.
Finally, after the break, a Nao robot was brought in to the general amusement of those behind the desk and the studio audience. It was a little distracting from time to time, but every once in a while it would say something funny, maybe being programmed from off-stage? "What is dick butt?" it asked at one point, as well as "Don't touch me, CCP Dolan" and "Stop watching yourself on the TV." These were likely a bit too on the nose to be anything but programmed responses, but it was fun. You can learn more about Nao at this article at Engadget.
All in all, the matches in the third weekend of the second NEO wasn't nearly as fun to watch as the matches in the second weekend. Still, there were other compensations that made watching worth the time. That said, I do have more to say about the NEO generally, but I'll save that for the more general post. Congrats again to all three winning teams!